E*trade Australia Review – Is it the best?

With over 4,000 dedicated employees and an increasingly substantial 600 million dollars per year made in net income, the online stock brokerage hub E*Trade is certainly sitting pretty as the go-to of its market. Furthermore, in most cases, if you were to ask a friend, co-worker, financial advisor, or the like, which website they use to handle all of their investment needs, E*Trade would undoubtedly be high on their list, if not at the very top.

While E*Trade Australia is a branch off of the E*Trade tree, it loses absolutely nothing by being an extension; the website comes with all of the same features, advancements, customer service, tools, security, and solid investment opportunities.

10 Simple Reasons to Sign-Up with E*Trade Australia

  1. 1.       Sign-Up is Completely Free: Customers of E*Trade pay only when they trade.
  2. 2.       New Investor Guidance Provided: New investors can take advantage of E*Trade’s “New Investor Hotline”, as well as a plethora of seminars, free product trials, and tutorials.
  3. 3.       Leading Research Available: Customers can take advantage of E*Trade Australia’s vast collection of leading, independent research houses; the largest within the Australian market.
  4. 4.       Top-of-the-Line Trading Technology: “Smart Alerts”, “Conditional Orders”, and E*Trade’s infamous trading platform “E*Trade Pro”.
  5. 5.       E*Trade is an Award-Winning Online Brokerage: AFR Smart Investor Blue Ribbon Award “Fully Featured Online Broker for 2010”, named “Best Feature-Packed Online Broker” by Money magazine for four consecutive years, “Best Innovative Feature” (Free Tax Tools) by Money magazine’s “Best of the Best 2010”, and “Best Innovative Feature” again by Money magazine in 2011 for Global Shares.
  6. 6.       Dedicated Service Team: From 8am-8pm, Monday through Friday, E*Trade customers are provided dedicated assistance from some of Australia’s leading client service consultants.
  7. 7.       Choose from Numerous Investment Opportunities: Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), Managed Funds, Options, the SharePack, and Warrants.
  8. 8.       Sharable Investment Loans: As a means to assist its customers in wealth-creation and to provide a portfolio leveraging opportunity, E*Trade offers its “ANZ E*Trade Share Investment Loan”.
  9. 9.       Seamless Access from ANZ Direct: Customers of ANZ Internet Banking enjoy direct access to the E*Trade platform; simplifying their daily investment management.
  10. 10.   Customers Stock Up on Qantas Frequent Flyer Points: As you trade, E*Trade rewards you with Qantas Frequest Flyer Points (if you’re a member); E*Trade Australia is currently the only online trading service to offer such a substantial perk.

Website Features Reviewed – 5 out of 5 Points System

  • Featured Tools – 4 out of 5 Points

With fully customizable trading and market platforms, asset allocation tools, account performance monitors, income estimators, risk estimators, and more, E*Trade offers the investor just about everything they need to succeed. Typically, the only complaint voiced by E*Trade customers is that some of the most valuable tools are not free, but an extra expense. Some reviews deduct more points for this, but an overall free service of this stature, offering the best of the best, has to make money in some fashion in order to do so.

  • Ease of Site Layout – 5 out of 5 Points

The E*Trade Australia website is, in many ways, easier to maneuver than the American E*Trade Website, simply because less digging is necessary. Both websites offer those who are already members a tremendous amount of ease, but E*Trade Australia offers the potential member more ease in getting answers and getting set-up.

  • Priceless Customer Service – 5 out of 5 Points

How often are you patched through to a customer service department and feel as though the representative you’re speaking to knows less than you do about their own product? This is not the case with the E*Trade Australia Customer Service department; they’re delightfully friendly, dedicated, knowledgeable in their product, and are eager to help.

  • Security You Need – 5 out of 5 Points

Here’s the thing that separates E*Trade from its competitors in the best possible way – SecurID; an incredibly substantial secondary security measure offered free to all members, no questions asked. With this system in place, you can lay your head down on your pillow at night knowing that your account is safe, protected, and always in your possession alone.

  • Fee Structure – 3 out of 5 Points

Anything that’s truly great has to have at least one caveat and in the case of E*Trade, it’s certainly not a deal breaker. E*Trade’s commission fee structure is a little more substantial than other online discount brokerage websites, but the services they offer more than make up for it – honestly, I doubt you’ll pay much attention to it at all once you fall head-over-heals for the service at large.

 

How to Choose Currency Trading Software – A Guide

Readers to deviate from our usual review series, here’s a post that may help you choosing your preferred software for Forex or currency trading. There are various software available in the market today. The tasks start from comparing those available option. Below points will explain you how you can proceed further.

Forex platform

Like any other software selection, the features you should look in to while choosing the best out of available currency trading software are as below.

Reliability

The software should be up 24/7, like the Forex market itself, your software should never sleep or face outages. Any time in the day you should be able to access the platform.If a software does not have this feature you can safely turn away from it.

Security

Your money and your purchases should automatically be protected from fraud potential by the encryption employed in the software. A 124 bit encryption is a must to beat today’s network attackers.

Ease of use

The trading platform should be easily usable and understandable. You shouldn’t have to click too many buttons to place a purchase order or a sales order. At the same time the software should not have missing features.

Real time Quote and movement

Unless you get to see real-time price movement and your profit and loss margin a trading platform is good for nothing. This is no different from a regular stock trading platform need. You need to know every movement especially if you are a day trader.

Product Review

Always read reviews for the software. Expert review and regular user reviews are great resources to know a product feature better. Every review will either negative or positive and same product might generate good as well as bad reviews, go for the products that have best ratio of positive vs. negative reviews.

Customer Support

No matter how good a software is there will be glitches, that’s how electronics pulses work in a network, signal packets will be lost and connection will be broken at times.  When that happens a good customer service fills the gap. If you don’t get an answer even after being one hour on phone then the software platform owners have a serious problem. Customer is the king, let’s behave like a king.

Brand Name

Brand name goes a long way. Brand name brings controls and procedures to meet standards, brand name brings reliability. A better brand is always more equipped to compensate for their mistakes. They may go out of their ways to fit your needs at times.

So, your tasks do not end till you learn how to trade Forex, it can only complete when you evaluate and select the best available Forex software. We at Finance Product Reviews will bring in future reviews of forex trading platforms, setting the pace here.

Thanks for being our avid reader, let us know if you have good/bad experience with a currency trading platforms.

ScotTrade Brokerage Account Review – Why I don’t use Scortrade

Scottrade is a private discount brokerage firm in US. They have head quarter in St. Louis, Missouri. They have nearly 504 branches all over US. They offer service to Asian- pacific customers also. This service is provided through there center in china. They offer many services like stoke broker, mutual funds, CDs, IRAs, fixed income etc. 2010 they had nearly 3,300 employees. Till year 2008 they had $838.10 million revenues. In year 2011 they launched Scottrade bank.

Scottrade Review

Some important things have to be considered before starting dealing with an online broker. The one which provides fewer prices is good but only this is not enough. One should do enough research of the service provider they are looking for, and should see pros and con of that service provider. Following are some main points for one of the leading online broker in US: -

Facility to open either individual or joint account: – they offer you two types of account. First one is individual account. And second one is joint account. In joint account you can add maximum 3 people. From your account you can trade stocks, mutual funds, many bonds, exchange trade funds, options etc. the charges for trading unlimited shares having value more than $1 is $7. Is you are trading options then you will have to pay 1.25$ extra than 7$.

Retirement account: – Scottrade offers much type of retirement accounts if you are working. The account includes Roth, traditional, simple IRAs, Rollover.

Business and trust account: -you can open a business or trust account at Scottrade. For trust account you can choose between regular, PSP, MPP etc. while for business account you can choose between corporate & LCC, partnership or investment.

No maintenance fee: – another main thing which makes Scottrade so special.  They take absolutely no fee for account maintenance. It is not just that, they even charge anything for deactivating your existing account. According to me this is very special thing they give.

Low price for stock trade: – when the things come to pricing of trading stocks, Scottrade are leading there also. They have one of the least pricing in American market. If you compare Scottrade to other discount giving traders, then also Scottrade are taking much less commission. In case of option trade they are taking much higher commission but in case of stock, they are the best.

Huge branch network: – they have over 500 branches all over US. This is largest network by any trading company in US.

Security on your account funds: – they provide you security investor Protection Corporation membership once you open an account at Scottrade. This security account is given at no cost. This security account provides you insurance up to $24.5 million per customer.  This insurance security is similar to FDIC security given to you with your deposits in bank. So there is absolutely no need to worry about financial stability of Scottrade.

Highly rated: – This broker company has earned very high ratings in many individual investors of US. It is not just that, they have won customer satisfaction, less interest rate awards in year 2007 and in 2008. J.D power and associates have ranked Scottrade as highest customer satisfaction providing Broker Company.

For getting started you will have to put $1000 in your account. Once you start account, you can transfer your IRAs to Scottrade for free. Also their website provides very easy to use online platform. With this platform you will get free access to real time streaming quotes, charts, market news, latest announcement etc.

Is Scottrade worth it?

There is one big disadvantage of Scottrade is that, you can invest online but you can’t withdraw money online.

There are other reasons I hate Scottrade,

  • No dividend re investment option for the shares you own, if you want to re invest dividend it will be classified as another transaction worth $7
  • Pricier than Zecco Trading and MB Trading brokerages I use. Both Zecco and MB Trading offer $4.95 per trade fees.
  • There is a minimum fund requirement of $1000 to be able to trade

Do you use Scottrade? Tell us more about your experience, you good, bad or neutral opinions are most valuable for other readers.

MB Trading Brokerage Platform Review

I have been using MB Trading brokerage account for last 5 years. I was attracted by their professional screen layout of the trading platform.  I am attaching screen shots below for you to see. During market hours when the data keep on refreshing, it gives a feeling that you are in the trading pit!

With a very steep learning curve to master the software and availability of very limited educational materials, MB Trading may not be an ideal choice for a brokerage for new investors.

MB Trading received “top rated online broker” award for 7 consecutive years now, including 2012. Experts have faith in them.

MB Trading is a trading platform, and for a user, you have several choices of which platform to use. A desktop version is available, or a mobile one if that is your lifestyle. You can also access your MB Trading account online, if you are already comfortable working on the cloud.

Just for those options alone, MB Trading already captures a pretty wide market, even if the general opinion on online trading is, if you don’t know what you are doing, you are just going to waste your money.

Especially with MB Trading. Several reviews on the platform have already noted the poor or absent customer service for the website. And it is pretty understandable – if you are just starting out your career as an online trader, you will have many questions that traders will not often answer – the learning is part of the experience.

But with regards to the platform, the questions have been more about how to use it, and not how to make it work. Online trading has been the technology for several years now, so the software is already well set, and for MB Trading, to the point of being customizable to the user’s preferences.

The MB Desktop Pro

Because the MB Trading platform is all about online trading, you will need a reliable Internet connection for smooth transactions. Financial centers have long known this – the value of being a microsecond faster in a transaction can be measured in profits.

For example, in Hong Kong, commercial broadband already offers speed of up to the gigabit per second, but that is because Hong Kong is one of the great financial centers in Asia.

But the operating system of the MB Desktop Pro is Windows, XP, Vista or 7. That choice of operating system alone leaves your data vulnerable. And if you are going to add the fact that you are going to need an Internet connection anyway, you might as well do your trading completely online, without the MB Trading program installed on your desktop.

The only advantage of the MB Desktop Pro is that the information will be customizable on your screen. The same information will be available on the online version of the trading platform, but you might have to flip through several tabs to get the information. On the MB Desktop Pro, your screen is your screen, and information is where you want to see it.

The Online Version

The online version of the MB Trading platform offers some functionality that only professional traders are encouraged to use. Automating the system for orders triggered at a certain time of the day, or for canceling an order if another order is placed is for highly advanced users – imagine the feature where a bear or bull call or put spread is possible.

For its mobile version, all operating systems are supported, so it doesn’t matter if you are using an Android phone or an iPhone. Using a tablet makes no difference except that your screen may be larger, but the bottleneck for both the web-based platform and the mobile platform is your Internet connection.

If you experience frequent or long lags, it may the the Internet connection bothering the application, making it more difficult to trade profitably.

Fees and Commission

MB Trading minimum deposits to open a cash account (stocks, options) is $1,000, for margin accounts (stocks, options, futures) it is $2,000 and for an IRA account (stocks, options) the minimum is only $500.

MB Trading offers two different commissions structures for stocks: a flat rate setup and a tiered offering. I use their flat rate structure, which is suited best for me as I do not have urgent liquidity needs and I only place limit orders which is supported by their flat rate structure.

For more information, you can directly visit rates page at MB trading.

MB Trading Pros

  • Good commissions on market and limit orders
  • Excellent trading tools, you’ll love the colorful data on a black background, kind of gives a matrix type feeling. and, it works!
  • Great customer service, every time I called them I was connected promptly. Same with sending them emails or chat messages.
  • No ECN and exchange fees
  • No hidden fees for maintenance or, inactivity
  • Superior and customizable charts

MB Trading Cons

  • Surcharge of $0.005 per share for extended hours trading
  • $30 annual fee for IRAs is steep to me
  • High margin rates compared to other brokers
  • $0.01 per share fee to exercise options contracts

The Rating

The MB Trading platform works best if you already know how to use it – the features alone tell that story. And while the flat rate of USD 4.95 certainly looks appealing, the margin rate of MB Trading is a  little high, so they get back what you save in the long run.

One final addition – MB Trading does not offer international trading – and for a professional trader, that is a big thing to consider when thinking of using the MB Trading platform.

If you are a trader like me, I will be just fine to use MB Trading for all your trading needs. MB trading is not for you if you trade during extended hours.

We give MB Trading a “Must Try” rating. You’ll either fall in love with it after using or, you’ll hate it. 

Because of $30 annual IRA fee, having MB Trading for an IRA Accounts is not recommended. Other online brokers offer free retirement accounts.

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